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california, secretary of homeland security, "new york times" column list david brooks, sociologist michael eric dyson. >> good sunday morning on a very difficult day for a small town in connecticut and for the entire country as we all grieve over the loss of life at sandy hook elementary. this morning we're getting a first look at the names and faces of some of the victims, 20 school children, eight boys, 12 girls, all first graders, and the six adults who died trying to protect them. including the heart breaking video of ana marquez-green singing a hymn with her brother last summer. ♪ >> president obama will travel
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to newtown this afternoon to console the victim's families and to attend a community vigil. this headlines sums up where we are nearly 48 hours after the shooting, wrenching detailing but few answers. we want to start with nbc correspondent pete williams about what we are learning about the investigation. do we know more about why it happened? >> i don't think we can ever get a satisfactory answer, there is no satisfactory answer to such a heinous act. there's some evidence at his mother's house, they have a commuter there and they're analyzing that to see what they can get out of it. >> what was the scenario? >> the scenario, it all starts friday morning when he takes his mother's gun, she had purchased them legally, this is a woman who grew up in rural new
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hampshire, was comfortable can guns, liked them. he kills her, takes three of those guns to the school, in her car, forces his way in by shattering the window. they had a buzzer system and he forced his way in. the principal tried to stop him and he concentrated his firepower on these two classrooms with devastating effect. the detail that was so shocking is that he used an assault style weapon, a bushmaster .223, the same weapon that the washington snipers used ten years ago and shot these children several times, sometimes as much as 11, 12 times. >> the shooter adam lanza who took his own life. we have an older picture of him, it's the only picture that exists. what more do you know about him?
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>> this is a young man who had a mild form of autism and was always a person apart, never had any close friends, never seemed to be a good fit anywhere, his mother took him in and out of school, homeschooled him for a while. his parents got divorced, he stayed with his mother but obviously the friends of his mother, neighbors say there was a great strain there. unlike other kids who had backpacks, he always had a briefcase, he had trouble looking people in the eye, he had trouble fitting in or answering questions. so it was a very difficult time for him and his mother. >> i would think in the days and weeks ahead the immediate focus will be on what can be learned from the computers they have taken from his mother's home about lanza. >> to see if he left anything that would explain his actions. but there was no note, unlike other shootings where the
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perpetrators did leave some idea of why. >> he only visits the violence on two of the classrooms, other teachers and the other children were all locked down in their classrooms or other places. >> and we don't know why he chose those two classrooms and there was some earlier misinformation that he chose a classroom where his mother taught kindergarten. this is a fact we have never nailed dale. but some say at some time in the past she did volunteer at that school. but as far as the connection to this school, we don't know. >> pete williams, thank you for your reporting. >> you bet. i want to turn now to the governor dan malloy, welcome to "meet the press" i am profoundly sorry we have doing this interview this morning. can you describe the last 48
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hours have been like? >> i got a call at our office that a shooting had taken place at a school here in newtown. once we understand at least a portion of what had happened, got in the car and proceeded down to newtown from hartford. and then, you know, hours went by, and ultimately had to break it to the families about 20 of the families were represented in the room at the firehouse that their loved one was not going to be joined with them. and that obvious was a tough moment for me and i think for everyone and by the way, i shouldn't even say that, so much tougher for people that lost a wife or a child. but it's been a tough day. >> what do you know now as we talked to pete williams about the investigation, do you have anymore information that you're getting from your investigators that would explain why he argued the school, why he went on this rampage at all?
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>> you know, as i think was stated, he had a relationship with the school, had attended there, at least that's what i'm led to believe. but beyond that, we really don't know a whole lot. this is a very deeply troubled individual, obviously, you can't do the things that this individual did without any obvious motive, without having been -- being greatly disturbed. and that's what happened. >> is there documented mental health history, governor, that you're now aware of? >> well, you know, if you play the description that you already did on the show, i mean this is not a person who maintained normal relationships and i think there will be more time for stuff to come out and for us to understand more directly what was going on in this young person's life. but clearly, he was mentally
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disturbed. >> the president is coming to visit and to share in the grief and to try to console those in the community. where would you like the national conversation to go in the most constructive direction now? >> well, we're unfortunately a violent society. we have about 3 32,000, 33,000 deaths a yea gun deaths a year. if there's a gun at home, chances are that it's going to be used against you or a family member. that's what happens. in this particular case, someone decided to take those three guns and proceed to a school and literally slaughter people. >> would you like -- >> what would i like to say? i think there's certain problems that we have in our society that
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have to be addressed. we don't treat the mentally ill well, we don't reach out to families that are in trouble particularly well. we allowed the assault weapons ban to lapse. there are a lot bigger issues that need to be taken on as a society and a reasonable discussion about how he help families in trouble, how we make progress in treating folks, how we intervene. having said all of that, in our particular state, we have laws that are probably more aggressive than most states. the mere presence of this kind of weapon means that this kind of weapon can be used in a way that it's been used here or been used in other situations. >> governor, our thoughts and prayers are with you and with all of those families most directly affected by this. i really appreciate your time this morning. >> thank you. i want to turn now to the mayor new york city, michael bloomberg, mr. mayor, thank you for being here.
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>> thank you for having me. >> i'm sorry to have you under these circumstances. >> just terrible. >> you have been an avid gun control advocate for many years. first the "new york post," the morning after the slaughter of innocents, describe your reaction as you saw this unfold. >> it's so unbelievable and it only happens in america, and it happens again and again. there was another shooting yesterday, three people killed, i think in a hospital. we kill people in schools, we kill them in hospitals, we kill them in religious organizations, we kill them when they're young, we kill them when they're old and we just got to stop this. >> there is in this country, incredible sadness, empathy, anger and a sense of resolve and the president speaking after this horrible tragedy, really gave voice to that friday afternoon. listen. >> we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies
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like this, regardless of the polit politics. >> a significant statement as far as it goes. you're calling for immediate action. what precisely? >> number one, i think the president should console the country. but he's the commander in chief as well as the consoler in chief and he calls for action. did he call for action two years ago? and every time there's a disaster like this, a tragedy like this, everybody says, well, now is not the time. or if you had fixed the problem, you can't guarantee that this particular event would have been prevented. all of that is true. it's time for the president, i think, to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do, not go to congress and say what you guys want to do. this should be his number one agenda. he's the president of the united states and if he does nothing during his second term, something like 48,000 americans will be killed with illegal guns.
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that is roughly the number of americans killed in the whole vietnam war. >> so what do you do? >> well, there's a number of things that the president can do and a number of things that congress can do and a number of things you and i can do as voters. what the president can do is number one, through executive action, he can order his agencies to enforce the laws more aggressively. i think there's something like 77,000 people who have been accused of lying when they applied for a gun permit. we have only prosecuted 77 of them. the president is introduce legislation, even if it doesn't get passed, the president campaigned back in 2008 on a bill that would prehint assault weapons. we have got to really question whether military style weapons belong to the streets of america
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in this day and age. nobody questions the second amendment right to bear arms, but i don't think that the founding fathers had the idea that every man, woman and child could carry an assault weapon. and i think the president should his leadership could get a bill through congress, but at least he's got to try. that's his job. >> isn't it significant that he may only be able to try, that we have seen declining support since 1990 for stricter gun control weapons. we have seen the assault weapons ban come and go. >> the nra's number one -- this myth that the nra can destroy political careers is just not true. >> it not a myth that after the assault weapons ban was passed, there was a huge political price for democrats to pay. and nearly 20 years later, they don't want to touch the issue.
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>> it is true that they lost a lot of seats then t cause and effect isn't quite so clear. and what happened then isn't what happens now. if 27 people killed, to children, if this isn't enough to change the mentality, the saipsyc psych ke of the american public. >> we have this assault rifle, the pistol, the semi-automatic pistols, the 9 millimeters, but we're also learning that these weapons were found and legally purchased by his mother, at her home. she lives in a rural area and had them for self-defense. >> i can't tell you if you stopped people who have psychiatric problems, who have
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criminal records who have substance abuse problems, who are minors, if you ever stopped any of them from guy buying a gun, that this particular event would not take place. this is just one in a series of what happens again and again and again. your argument is that there's no reason to have speed limits because it wouldn't have stopped that one person when the cops weren't around that they stepped on the pedal. if congress were to act, if congress wasn't so afraid of the nra, and i think i can show you that they have no reason to be. but if they were to stand up and do what's right for the american public, we would all be a lot better off. and congress has the ability to do this and the president in my view is the one that has to do this. the president campaigned in '08 on an assault weapon ban. and the only legislation that
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the president has signed since then, one is the right to carry a gun on national parks where our kids play and another one is to carry a gun on trains. >> i said his views on issues like this are the right views, but the president has to transz tlat those views into action. his job is not just to be well meaning, his job is to inform and protect the american public. >> the position is after an event like this the conversation immediately goes to gun control, as pope posed to looking at wider causes.
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>> if he could have gotten access to the guns, what kind of bombs would he have access to. we're in an information age where there's access to all kinds of information. he was diabolical, demonic in a twisted sense -- i think of him almost as a terrorist. >> i don't think you can go to parents and say, i'm sorry, there's always going to be some crazy person so we as a society are not going to protect your children? you don't really mean that. and i assume the governor didn't mean that. there's always going to be a way, you can trangal somebody with your hands, that doesn't mean everybody should have a gun. the bottom line is, the other
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thing they said after aurora was education. the solution to all of this is to improve our educational system. i think that came out of both ends of pennsylvania avenue. my recollection is one of these guys was a phd student, another guy at virginia tech was an engineering student. this is not a panacea of all of society's problems. but this is one that's easy to focus on. >> so how do you change the leadership dynamic? talk a little bit about your experience in new york, where this year, remarkably, you've got the lowest crime rate since the 1960s. >> i don't think it's remarkable because we are doing the right things. we have sensible gun laws. we have proactive policing. and we incarcerate people when they are dangerous to society with tough punishment. >> there's also some of the searching methods that have been controversial and been criticized. >> that's proactive policing. we send our police officers to problem places where there are problem people. we focus our efforts where there is crime and make sure that the people who might commit those
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crimes know that there's a high probability that we will find them carrying weapons, and they'll go to jail. we have the toughest gun laws in the country. 3 1/2 year mandatory sentence in jail is state law if you're found carrying an illegal loaded gun. all of those things scare people from carrying guns. but the people that they scare are not the hunters and not the people that want to have guns to protect themselves in their homes. those things are guaranteed by the constitution and guaranteed by the supreme court. the supreme court also said that you can have reasonable restrictions. carrying guns on a college campus, for example, is one of the dumbest things i've ever heard of in my life. i don't remember what you were like when you were in college, but i shouldn't have had a gun when i was in college. nor should anybody i knew. we just don't need guns every place. we don't need people carrying guns in public places. that's not what the founding fathers had in mind. it doesn't add to anybody's safety. quite the contrary.
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it makes us have a much more dangerous society. >> how do you change the leadership dynamic? connecticut has a very strong set of gun laws. an assault weapons ban that ironically did not cover the weapon used in this case apparently. they tried to limit the high capacity clips and faced tremendous pressure. they weren't able to do that. but they still have tough laws. how do you change the dynamic? you say that this does change it automatically. >> the first thing, david, is having tough laws is one thing. enforcing those laws is something different. legislators' jobs is to come up with jobs, come up with agreements, get everybody into a room, form a bipartisan coalition, get everybody something. most of them get the -- the majority get the most of it. an executive's job is to make a decision. an executive's law is to take the law and go out and apply it given the intent of the law. and that's exactly what we do in new york city. the fact that we have the lowest murder rate of any big city in the country says we know what we're doing. and we have it every year.
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we have had a reduction in murder rate virtually every single year for the last 20 years. >> as the leader of a huge city in america, new york city, what about the role of other people, our mental health professionals, law enforcement? >> all of that applies. >> what is the role? what about gun owners and gun right supporters? what role do they have in this if there's to be a new dialogue? >> i think gun owners really have spoken. when you do the polling, most gun owners think that an assault weapons ban makes sense in this day and age. that study has been done again and again by both democratic and republican pollsters. and the trouble is that the nra is just never willing to have any restriction whatsoever, no matter how reasonable it is. the supreme court fortunately was. they said having reasonable restrictions is consistent with the constitution. >> does that dynamic change now? does the nra have disproportionate power? you argued a moment ago they
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didn't have the power they once did in a presidential election. >> i'll give you a good example. i'm not the kind of person to sit back and say, you know, the world is getting worse for my kids, and i'm gone, i don't care about their lives. i do care about their lives. i'm going to do everything while i'm alive to make the world a better place for my kids but also for society. and take a look. one of the things i decided to do in the last election was to support some candidates that were running against those that had great records with the nra, where the nra was putting their money into one side. i decided to put my money into the other side. >> joe baca in california, one of the democrats that you supported? >> we won four out of seven -- four out of seven where the nra supported every one of those four and we won with a small amount of money. there is this myth that the nra is so powerful. you go back to what happened back when the democrats lost after the assault weapons ban.
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i don't know that the two are connected then. but today, the nra's power is so vastly overrated. the public when you do the polls, they want to stop this carnage. and if 20 kids isn't enough to convince them, i don't know what will be. >> so the top priorities as of gun control are today to reinstate assault weapons ban? >> you keep saying control? i think that's a bad word. what about regulations? what about sensible gun laws that limit what you can do, when you can do it, make it consistent with the constitution, but also don't jeopardize everybody. and that's what i'm trying to do. >> so just take off the ones that you would fight for if you were the president. >> number one, there is a loophole in the federal law requirement that says you have to have a background check. the loophole is called the gun show loophole. there was this concept that at a gun show, if you wanted to sell one gun, and i just wanted to buy one gun, we wouldn't go through a background check because it was too complex.
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number one, it's not too complex. both of us could use a gun dealer. 99% of the gun dealers in this country do background checks, follow the law to the exact letter of the law. it's not onerous and it really does work. but the gun shows have involved from you just selling one gun to me to you having 500 guns and 10 or 20 like me come in to buy guns from you. it's a way to avoid the federal requirement for a background check. number two, the background check database isn't kept up to date, and the president by executive order could certainly do something like that. there was a disaster, a murder six, eight months, a year ago, a military guy. the military knew he had psychiatric problems. never put that into the database outside of the military. and he goes and kills people. so populating the database. having -- making sure that you stop the gun show loophole. those are the kinds of things that congress can do. and enforcing the laws.
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the alcohol, tobacco and firearms division hasn't had anybody in half a dozen years running it, four years. the president hasn't fought hard for somebody. i know it's tough to get people through congress, approved in congress. the president deals with that all the time. this should be one of his number one priorities. >> how much are you prepared to spend in the future to counter the nra? >> i don't know how to answer that. but when i care about something, i care about something. i think i have an obligation as an american to -- and as a citizen, as a human being, to help others. smoking is going to kill a billion people this century. i put $600 million of my own money into trying to stop the tobacco companies from getting kids to smoke and convincing adults that it's not in their health. that's one issue. who knows? >> you're prepared to put a lot more money to support stricter gun regulations? >> wouldn't it be wonderful if we didn't have to do that, if everybody just said, ok, let's
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just have some common sense here. we don't need assault weapons. military style weapons with big magazines on the streets of our city. and we've got to make sure that people who don't have the maturity or the capacity, mental capacity, to responsibly handle guns don't have them? >> mr. mayor, thank you. >> you're welcome. >> appreciate it very much. >> very tragic. a note here this morning, we reached out to all 31 pro gun rights senators in the new congress to invite them on the program to share their views on the subject this morning. we had no takers. coming up here, big events like these often trigger a lively debate online. this tweet caught my eye. from @michellelaw, one guy tries to use a shoe bomb and everyone at the airport now has to take their shoes off. 31 school shootings since columbine, but no change. a provocative thought. and like mayor bloomberg just said, is what happened in connecticut going to be a catalyst for change in this and other areas? we'll talk about it with our special panel of key voices in
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coming up, before friday morning a heated standoff was brewing on capitol hill over the fiscal cliff. that debate now seemingly on hold for the moment at least as washington remembers the victims. lowering the flags at the capitol and the white house to half-staff. the question now for our
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we are back with a special edition of "meet the press." joining us for the rest of the hour, a special panel. a leading voice in the senate for gun control for the past two decades, senator dianne feinstein of california. author and former secretary of education bill bennett. georgetown university professor and sociologist michael eric dyson. former governor of pennsylvania and homeland security secretary under president bush and also a member of the virginia tech shooting review panel tom ridge.
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the president of the american federation of teachers randi weingarten. and columnist for "the new york times" david brooks. welcome to all of you. as my wife and are trying to shield our young kids from news of this event, we realize that it's futile. this is not an exception. we cannot wish these events away. and i mention this robust social networking conversation that unites the country. and if there is one feeling, it is enough. so in that spirit, i want to have this conversation. here is the recent history of school shootings in this country, public rampages. not all at schools. and the number of victims going back to columbine in 1999 all the way to portland, oregon, at a mall. three people killed there. so the context is just so alarming. senator feinstien, we talk about guns. it often overshadows the debate about mental illness. but in the vein of gun control in this country and presidential leadership, you heard from mayor
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bloomberg. this is how "the washington post" described the president's leadership back in july. i'm not going to take away your guns, obama promised in september of 2008. however, he advocated closing a loophole that allows for gun purchases without background checks at gun shows and for reinstating the assault weapons ban. obama kept his promises to gun owners but not to gun control advocates. the president signed bills allowing guns in national parks and on amtrak. he has not pushed for the restatement of the assault weapons ban nor closed the gun show loophole. has the president failed to lead? >> i'm not going to comment on that. i can tell you that he is going to have a bill to lead on, because on the first day bill, i'm going to introduce the bill in the senate and the same bill will be introduced in the house, a bill to ban assault weapons. it will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation, and the possession. not retro actively, but perspectively. and it will ban the same for big
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clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets. so there will be a bill. we've been working on it now for a year. we've tried to take my bill from 1994 to 2004 and perfect it. we believe we have. we exempt over 900 specific weapons that will not be -- fall under the bill. but the purpose of this bill is to get just what mayor bloomberg said, weapons of war, off the streets of our city. >> what makes you think it can pass? we've had tragedies before, and nothing happens. >> well, i'll tell you what happened back in '93 when i told joe biden who was chairman of the judiciary committee that i was going to move this as an amendment on the crime bill. he laughed at me. he said, you're new here. wait until you learn. and we got it through the senate. we got it through the house. the white house came alive in the house of representatives. and the clinton administration helped.
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the bill was passed, and the president signed it. it can be done. >> senator, we're having a little problem with your microphone which we'll remedy. david brooks, we immediately go after a tragedy like this to the gun control debate. more than a mental illness debate. as we look at the faces of these killers, in these recent incidents, what is the common thread that you find throughout them? they all appear to be young males, mentally at the very least mentally unbalanced. why do we so quickly move to the gun debate? >> first on the profile, we have had enough of this cases, we don't on this specific guy, but we've had enough cases to get a profile what they tend to be like. they are highly intelligent. something happens to them that damages that high estimation of themselves. they feel they are not being recognized by the world at large and decide they are going to do something to make the world recognize them. and so they go out and do these terrible things. and at the moment they're doing
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them this is the happy of their lives. they feel the world is uncontrolled, and suddenly they are in control. and they are the hero in their own life story. and so we should acknowledge, a, they are extremely determined to do these things. and that they are essentially -- they spend the months before lost in a black hole of their own festering. and i think it's those black holes that we as parents and as mental health community have to try to fill before they turn into these monsters. >> bill bennett, if the president is convening a task force and had everybody on this panel there to talk about solutions, as you heard senator feinstien say, does an assault weapons ban, does that have to be on top of the list? >> i think everything should be on the table. you don't limit the range of inquiry. all of these topics seem to need to be brought up. the senator noted 940 exceptions. if you can get one of those 940 rifles, you can still do a lot of damage. i don't know how effective the
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assault weapons bang was 1994 until 2000. some people suggest it wasn't effective. i had my argument back in 1990 when i was drug czar on this. but it seems we have to put everything on the table. and as david said, very well, a lot of us are tired of hearing after the fact about the psychological problems that people had. we saw this tucson, aurora. well, there are issues of privacy. there are issues of civil liberties. if you have very troubled people, and now there's a kind of new confessional in the land called the internet, there's probably a record. this guy probably was saying some of the things that he was thinking to somebody. and we need to get a hold of that ahead of time. >> governor ridge, what is your experience particularly with the virginia tech shooting aftermath? what does it tell you about
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where we need to start reacting particularly to senator feinstien? >> i think everyone has really focused on a word you used. i think the country needs to have it. let's start with the act and pull back to the actors. there's a profile here. and it was really rather dramatic. the privacy laws intersected with the inferior mental health delivery systems. what we know about many of these troubled young men, they often reveal their suicidal intentions. they often reveal their desire to kill. and so there's a -- we talk about mental health generically. but that's not a conversation parents have with counselors, and we run to it after the fact. and so i think the fact that we need a national conversation -- it has to include -- it will include and it must include some arms regulation. it has to include mental health. the privacy laws. this is a conversation that has to be reasonable, rational. it's time for us to have that conversation.
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but we cannot exclude the mental health component. >> randi weingarten, the folks you represent, the teachers you represent, were in newtown and at this school. it has to be very difficult this morning. >> well, i'm going up there this afternoon. but, you know, this is the instinct of educators and public servants that in situations like this, they just serve and they protect. and that's what people have seen here. but let me just say three things really quickly. number one, in terms of parents, we have a whole bunch of resources now on our website, and share my lesson, another platform we have, because you can't hide or shield kids from this. we have suggested don't have your kids watch tv all the time right now. but kids will have questions and fears, and we have to actually figure out how to reassure them in a reasonable way. number two, i want to go back to what everyone else has said.
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i think that this is a turning point here. i could hear it and feel it around in the last 48 hours. not just in the northeast. i see it from our colleagues all across the country. but it has to be a conversation and action about both mental health as well as gun laws. >> let me pick up on the gun laws. michael eric dyson, just the politics of this, which matter, you heard mayor bloomberg's criticism of the president. he campaigned one way but he didn't push it. didn't lead. as a second-term president, prepared to make what bloomberg called for, to make gun control, more stringent laws his number one agenda item? >> well, david, you don't lead in a vacuum. i'm a baptist preacher. you can preach the same sermon to one church at another church. and if the people are with you in the amen chorus, you'll have a much better result. the president needs an amen chorus in his congregation. i think that these public incidents, acute, dramatic, instigate and inspire people to say, enough with the hand wringing.
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let's get to some public policy that can reflect our moral consciousness about what we need to do. there's no one at this table that would defend the ability of anybody to repeatedly shoot a child. we've got to talk about sensible gun laws that the mayor spoke about. what about banning these assault weapons? the ban expired in '04. what about the background check s? mental illness is serious. we still have a stigma on acknowledging the fact that i might be depressed, i might need to talk to somebody, a priest or a rabbi. can i that you can to my psychiatrist or psychologist? we don't need cuts in medicare or medicaid to prevent people from seeking those kinds of psychological release. and we have to have the ability then to say to the president, the nation is now galvanized around this particular point. you must now use your bully pulpit to tell the story, the narrative that unifies us as a nation. >> bill? >> just a couple of things. there is such a thing called the
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black hole of a deranged mind. i don't know how much we have studied cho. but we know he had very serious problems. and i do want to say one other thing. there's something to be said for what we're doing as a nation. before we go to the task force. by the way, if the president wants me on it, i'll be glad to serve. which is we are mourning. the whole nation is mourning. that's an important moment. let the tears dry before we head off into all of these directions at once and not head off at once. the other thing is, let's remember the good things here. the heroism of those teachers and that principal. and i'm not so sure, and i'm sure i'll get mail for this, i'm not so sure i wouldn't want one person in a school armed, ready for in kind of thing. the principal lunged at this guy. the school psychologist lunged at the guy. it has to be someone who's trained, responsible. but, my god, if you can prevent this kind of thing, i think you ought to -- >> go ahead, david. >> can i just say one thing
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about the debate we need to have? this has become -- one of the problems with the debate is it's a values war. it's perceived as urban versus rural and frankly perceived as an attack on the lifestyle of rural people by urban people. and i admire mayor bloomberg enormously. there's probably more politician i agree with more. but it's counterproductive to have him as the spokesperson for the gun law movement. there has to be more respect and more people frankly from rural and red america who are participants in this. >> can i say something about the urban? isn't it interesting, not as dramatic incident as this but not as, you know, dramatic in the sense of what happened but it's not as massive but it's far more devastating, the constant urban drama that we deal with with our children as well, who are losing their lives, victims of racial profiling and police profiling? so that profiling doesn't seem to work. it seems to hype up our vigilance to say we're going to find out what -- where these problem citizens are and we
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focus on them. but the result is not what we see with these kids. look at what happened with other people who don't get profiled and they murder our children. >> the >> i want to bring you in, senator, and respond to that. the aspect of more guns being introduced. there will be a national response to say part of school security needs to be armed guards on campus. >> is this the way we want america to go? in other words, the rights of the few overcome the safety of the majority. i don't think so. i think america is ready. they're going to have an opportunity with this bill. i'm going to ask and spend my time and create a committee across this nation to support it. >> will the president speak out in favor of it, you believe? >> i believe he will. look, we crafted the last bill. it was right out of my office. and we're crafting this one. and it's being done with care. it will be ready on the first day. i'll be announcing house authors. and we'll be prepared to go. and i hope the nation will really help. >> certainly a news development this morning. randi, we'll start with you when we back. i want to continue this.
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but also introduce the other aspect. but it's not just access to guns. it is a culture in which violence is routine and is considered routine. we'll discuss that with our group right after this. we'll discuss that with our group right after this. and we can save you 10% on ground shipping over the ups store. look this isn't my first christmas. these deals all seem great at the time... but later... [ shirt ] merry christmas, everybody! not so much. ho ho ho! this isn't that kind of deal. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. save on ground shipping at fedex office. c'mon, michael! get in the game! [ male announcer ] don't have the hops for hoops with your buddies? lost your appetite for romance? and your mood is on its way down. you might not just be getting older. you might have a treatable condition called low testosterone or low t. millions of men, forty-five or older, may have low t. so talk to your doctor about low t. hey, michael! [ male announcer ] and step out of the shadows. hi! how are you?
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we're back with our roundtable. as i said, monitoring social networking and on twitter, rupert murdoch said on friday, tweeted this, terrible news today. when will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? senator feinstien, maybe there will be more allies than you imagine. and from tom brokaw, who tweeted on friday something that has been shared thousands of times, it's not enough to talk about access to guns.
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we also have to address a popular culture that treats violence as routine. >> let me go back to secretary bennett's point. there are so many ways, access points into schools, schools have to be safe sanctuaries. we need to stop this routine view that just having more guns will make people safer. we are opposed to having in a safe sanctuary like an elementary school someone who has access to guns. and i would ask governor snyder to veto the bill that says concealed weapons in schools would be ok. but this notion of we can actually do things in schools, we can actually have more guidance counselors, more social workers, psychologists, all of whom who have been cut because of the cuts. we can do wrap around services. we can do more of these things to destigmatize mental illness and have more access as well as a whole package of sensible gun laws.
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>> governor, while you were homeland security secretary, what was the point of counterterror? it was to harden the targets. to limit damage. >> you always try to reduce the risk. and i think that's what bill is referring to. and i think that's some form of gun regulation is to reduce the risk. but i think the conversation should start with the premise that our children -- no child is born violent. and so what are the experiences, pressures, whatever, during the course of that child's life, that lead them to the path that they've taken at columbine, aurora, sandy hook? we know there's mental health problems. but we've got to peel away the different layers. let me say this respectfully, because i voted for your assault weapon ban, that's a start. but there's still so much more that needs to be done. mental health is a component of it. we haven't even started talking about the corrosive influence of a violent oriented world. tv, video games, shoot to kill
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video games. when you're in the military, you learn that your target may shoot back. but you get in this digital world, this fantasy world, that if you look at the folks at columbine, aurora, et cetera, suddenly it's a different personality type. you need to understand that. >> you don't think this as corrosive an effect as people think? >> i had thought video games have played a role, but very few of the shooters over the years have had contact with video games. it tends to be not who they were. so i don't think this is a sociological problem primarily. i think it's a psychological problem. and there are millions of moms and dads in the country now dealing with mental health issues in their own families, and they don't know -- there's not -- if you're the mom of this kid, you don't know immediately where to go. there are places you can go which are the police or an institution. but that probably is stepping off a very steep chasm.
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where do you easily go for help? that's the question. >> national lines on mental illness put out a report last year that said in part states have cut more than $1.6 billion in their state budgets for mental held services since fiscal year of '09. these cuts translated to loss of vital services such as housing, access to medication and crisis services. >> look, here's the thing. what do people do when they don't have access? they self medicate. the drug rate rises. people's addiction to violence that we speak about is exacerbated. but here is the interesting point. we would rather talk about somebody rapping about, singing about, portraying in a film violence than the actual source of the violence itself. while we demonize and stigmatize those people who replicate patterns of violence in pop culture, we do nothing about the
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ready access to guns. it's the ready access to guns that led to this devastation. until we get the guns removed, all of the imagination, the erotic intensity connected to violence, will not be dissuaded from having a negative impact. >> you're not going to get the guns outlawed. you may have careful legislation proposed by the senator which may pass. you're not going to get the guns removed. you do have this problem called the constitution. there is the second amendment. let me finish my thought. i know, it doesn't say anything about assault weapons and that wasn't the founders intent and i agree with that. but it's just not right wing senators who won't appear on television. it's circuit court and supreme court judges say it isn't right. you have more freedom in america, and there's more abuse of freedom in america. >> i don't deny that, but you've got to have the ability to say, look, there's a wide gulf between the repealing of the second amendment, aaron burr and alexander hamilton can have a fight, but they don't have assault weapons.
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>> i think it's interesting. the nra never brought the '94 assault weapons legislation to court. they knew it would be sustained from the beginning. and i believe this will be sustained as well. you know, all of the things that society regulates, but we can't touch guns, bill. >> did we get rid of assault weapons, senator? >> yeah, i think we did it. >> we'll get another break here and come back in just a moment. dancing in their heads... ...we have these. home depot gift cards. give the gift of doing, in-store or online. in that time there've been some good days.
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and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours. ♪ this conversation and debate will go on. i wish we had more time. thank you all very much for beginning it. i want to close with this. we were preparing our discussion this morning and monitoring what has been a robust conversation across social media, including so many words of sim pathy and comfort. and we came across the widely shared advice of mr. rogers on pbs. he said when he was a boy and he saw scary things on tv, his mother said to him, look for the helters.
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you will always find people who are helping. so this morning, we offer our prayers to the families hit by this unspeakable pain. my god give you strength. and at least you can know there's a country full of helpers here to catch you when you feel like falling. that's all for today. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." good sunday afternoon to you, everyone. i'm craig melvin. many more details coming to light right now about the massacre in newtown, connecticut on friday. we hope to learn more details on precisely how the shooter killed his mother and then himself.
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we're waiting for an firm neoff news conference start and when it does we'll bring it to you live here in msnbc. we're told the president is about to take off. president obama will be in newtown, connecticut tonight. he is going to be meeting with family members he's going to be meeting with first responders as well and he will also be attending a vigil at 7:00 tonight in the tiny town of newtown, connecticut. again, president obama there getting set to land at andrews air force base. he will head from andrews air force base to bradley air force base there in connecticut and heading over to newtown, connecticut. we go straight to michelle franzen who is on the grown. michelle, what can we expect to find out at this news conference that's
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